Friday, June 16, 2017

When Life Won't Slow Down

For over 30 years, I've been waiting for my life to slow down.

Through teaching and college and marriage and babies and missions and raising a houseful of youngsters and pastor's wifing and taking care of my parents from afar, I've expected life to slow down right after this current crisis, and then I'll get to do all the stuff I've set aside for the time being.

Just this morning, I thought of of a few things I would like to do, if I had the time.

Call my niece Annette and just chat.
Practice drawing, just for fun, and to improve my skills.
Teach young girls in my life how to sew.
Go to garage sales with my daughters.
Write short stories, just for practice.
Redo the bathroom walls and floor.
Organize my paper piles.

Meanwhile, reality: It just never stops. Around every corner, some other craziness pops up. But I keep hoping.

Other people seem to have found the magic key to an empty nest, a controllable schedule, and manageable demands on their time.

And finishing quilts.

I have not.

This is finals week for my many college kids. Emily graduates tomorrow. Her open house is Sunday. My dad is coming once again for the summer, arriving this evening and escorted by my brother Fred.

Jenny just repainted Amy's old room and moved into it.

Amy is home from Thailand for a visit. Her friend Joy came with her and was here for two weeks before going on to visit an aunt in New York.

So there has been great shuffling of belongings, and sorting out of excess, and sightseeing with visitors, and brain-wracking about who should sleep where, and getting ready of bedrooms, and dragging of furniture, and making of food, and phone calls, and texts.

I often feel like the hub of a rapidly-turning wheel.

Paul wasn't very excited about giving up our newly-remodeled bedroom again for Dad. One summer we had him in our pop-up camper, which Dad wouldn't mind, but I don't have the heart to put a 100-year-old in the camper.

So Paul moved the camper home and Fred will sleep there for the weekend, then it'll become my sewing area if I have any time to sew.

Dad will be in the sewing room.

Amy will be in Jenny's old room.

Jenny is in Amy's old room.

And so on.

At the end of the day on Wednesday, I jotted down everything I could remember that had happened that day.

June 14, 2017

Finals week, just for context.

Today Amy and her Thai friend Joy got up at 3 a.m. to go to the airport. Amy saw Joy off and went shopping at the Goodwill bins when they opened, calling me with questions about what I wanted.

Ben left for OSU with bags and a grocery list for me, but his car got hot at Horse Creek Farms.

Paul came crashing in the back door asking for milk jugs, I found two in the recycle, and he filled them with water, took them to Ben, took the car to Petra--the repair place in Harrisburg--and brought Ben home.

Ben worked on schoolwork at home. Thankfully he didn’t have any finals he had to be at OSU for.

Jenny went to Linn-Benton for her last final, and got a Red Bull to celebrate.

I madly sewed Emily’s graduation dress. The princess seams in front would not cooperate. I sewed and tore and fitted and pinned and sewed and tore some more.

Ben was afraid his car would need a new head gasket in addition to a new radiator. It was worth the latter but not the former.

Emily had tea with her friend Esta and messaged me for the story of Matt saving Amy’s life when Sty the mean neighbor boy tried to push her in the water hole. I called Emily, she put the phone on speaker, and I told the story in between pinning and sewing.

I also tried to get ready for Dad and Fred’s arrival on Friday and graduation on Saturday and the open house on Sunday.

I tested the gouda cheese dip recipe. Definitely WITH smoke flavoring and not without.

Emily came home and finished her last final, online I believe.

We needed a twin-size bed for Dad which will become Jenny’s after he leaves, so I scoured Craigslist ads and texted and emailed.

Steven needed someone to take him to Lebanon where his car was being worked on. Emily said she could.

Right after Amy came home from Portland, Paul and I hustled off to Goodwill to see if they had their nice refurbished mattresses. They didn’t. We got Steven at the fire station and brought him here, and Emily took him to Lebanon.

Joy called Amy and said her flight was delayed and she missed her connection. Very scary on her first flight alone. Amy tried to help her over the phone.

Ben needed a ride to Petra to get his car. I don’t recall who took him. The car did NOT have a blown head gasket. Relief for all.

I madly sewed and arranged to see a couple of Craigslist beds.

Ben, Amy, and Jenny went to St. Vinnie’s, just for fun.

I told everyone to fix their own leftovers for supper.

After the kids came home, Paul and Jenny went and got Keith’s pickup then went to look at beds. Jenny is picky about smells, so I said she needs to go along, and not me. They got a nice twin bed from a little old lady, for $80.

I stayed home and sewed.

Joy finally made it to Syracuse.

Paul rearranged the remaining furniture in my sewing room so I could get it ready for Dad.

At the end of the day, I'm not sure I'd change anything, because there's no person I'd choose to not have in my life.

We note that I have time to write a blog post now and then. Writing things out is like eating a good breakfast: a necessity to keeping a clear head in the chaos.

Maybe after graduation things will slow down. Ben plans to move out soon, after "his" room is vacated in a house with a few other students, in Corvallis. And Emily might move out also, depending on which job offer she accepts and how much it pays.

So I may or may not have time to quilt and draw.

But I finished the dress!

Quote of the Day:
Steven: Hey, we're out of, like, old people cereal.
Ben: Old people cereal?
Steven: Granola, oatmeal, raisin bran...
Ben: Do you wash it down with prune juice?



  1. And the dress is BEAUTIFUL!!

  2. You 'pinned and sewed and tore'...are you sure it wasn't 'pinned and stewed and swore?' Couldn't resist...figured with your sense of humor you'd get it! ☺️

    1. Ha! Certainly stewed but managed not to swear beyond "Arg zarg!" which I'm told is Mennonite swearing.

    2. I have an older friend (I am 60; she is 80+) who says "Bad word, bad word, bad word!" when she feels the need to swear!

  3. The dress turned out the colors...I enjoy your writing so much...hang in there!

  4. The graduation dress is just precious and your daughter looks lovely! Years ago I asked my mother about getting things done now that all her children were grown and gone. She looked at me and said something to the effect that "yes, life has slowed down, but so have I. It takes me so long to accomplish anything that I don't get any more done now than I did when I was younger and had less time." I replied, "Mother, you give me no hope." We had a good laugh! What she said has proved true for me too. And the thing about having young adult children is that they drop in unexpectedly, or if they live too far away, they call at odd hours wanting to talk, at their convenience, not mine. So I have to adjust and leave unimportant (and sometimes pressing) things undone for a while longer. But when all is said and done, I love our children and want to maintain the bonds we have build over the years so I make myself available and listen and spend precious time with them. As you well know, people are more important than things. Hugs to you!

  5. Margaret Kauffman6/16/2017 3:21 PM

    You are indeed a busy lady. Give my greetings to your dear old Dad!

  6. A bright spot in my day!

  7. And all my life I've been waiting for Time - time to do things, hobbies etc. I've waited so long that now I'm getting so slow that "there's never enough time."

  8. Empty nesters for four years here. We are still searching for all that free time we thought we would have. Now that our chore doers and yard workers are gone we have to do all that and so there goes the free time. Now we think it will be when we downsize house but I really doubt that, too.

    1. Lana, my husband and I laugh about the same thing! All our "slaves", er, ah, children are gone!

  9. Oh, I do love your posts. I always feel normal and somehow reassured. Thank you for writing!

    I agree that the dress is beautiful! The fabric, the sash, the princess seams down the front :) All lovely, just like your girl.

  10. What a lovely dress on a beautiful daughter. Did you use one dress pattern as is
    and the sash off the other?

  11. Beautiful dress and daughter! We are noticing the same thing other commenters have noted - by the time the children are gone, we are slower and have to do the chores they used to do, so we are no further ahead :) I love your list of what you did in one day; it has a familiar ring from the time when our kids were still at home.

  12. thanks for free style this blog is very great for hosting ..

  13. The dress is beautiful, I love the fabric! And, I love The Quote of the Day! Sounds very familiar. Lol! God bless you all!